I've been working on the thing since 2005, so its a great relief and excitement to send it off be published. Kudos to Alex Mallinson, whose design work is utterly splendid. And thanks to everyone who helped to make it happen.
Professor Bernice Surprise Summerfield (2540- ) made her debut at the end of September 1992 in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine #192. The issue included a two-page prelude by Paul Cornell for his original novel, Love and War:
Benny swung her satchel into her tent, and took a deep breath of the morning air. She was pretty, in a sharp sort of way, as Clive had often realised but never quite got round to expressing. Short black hair cut so that strands of it hung over her brow, emphasising her mobile eyebrows and ironic eyes. Her mouth could purse in self-mockery, but there was something about the curve of it that rather hurt. English hurt, like there were things she’d rather not talk about.
Love and War was published two weeks’ later on Thursday 15 October. That same issue of Doctor Who Magazine also included Cornell’s notes on the character and Gary Russell’s glowing review of the novel. ‘Miss it at your peril!’ he enthused. ‘Probably the most mature and intelligent of the run [of New Adventures novels] so far.’
‘Benny looks set to make a refreshing and interesting companion to this darker Doctor,’ he said of the new companion. ‘So long as other writers cope with her as well as Cornell has - and the indications are that they have - I think Bernice could soon become as popular as Ace.’
So how was Bernice created? And how has she changed in the years since that debut?
The Inside Story talks to those involved in her development. Find out how she came to be, how she was developed and where she’s going next. See the stories that almost-got-told, and listen in on the creative battles, personality clashes and very, very bad jokes.
With exclusive access to more than 100 writers, editors, producers and illustrators, it’s as wild, exciting and unlikely a journey as any Benny has made herself.
Includes a Foreword by Benny’s creator, Paul Cornell, and an Afterword by Lisa Bowerman, who plays Benny in the Big Finish audio dramas.